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    Mutation Burden Predicts Anti-PD-1 Response.
    • Authors:
    Cancer Discov 2018 Jan 18. Epub 2018 Jan 18.
    A new study finds that objective response rates to anti-PD-1 therapies correlate with tumor mutation burden for most of the 27 cancer types studied. Objective response rates were higher than expected for Merkel cell carcinoma and renal cell carcinoma, which may be particularly immunogenic. The objective response rate was unexpectedly low for colorectal cancer with mismatch repair proficiency. Read More

    Updated efficacy of avelumab in patients with previously treated metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma after ≥1 year of follow-up: JAVELIN Merkel 200, a phase 2 clinical trial.
    J Immunother Cancer 2018 Jan 19;6(1). Epub 2018 Jan 19.
    University of Washington Medical Center at South Lake Union, Seattle, WA, USA.
    Background: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive skin cancer associated with poor survival outcomes in patients with distant metastatic disease (mMCC). In an initial analysis from JAVELIN Merkel 200, a phase 2, prospective, open-label, single-arm trial in mMCC, avelumab-a human anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) monoclonal antibody-showed promising efficacy and a safety profile that was generally manageable and tolerable. Here, we report the efficacy of avelumab after ≥1 year of follow-up in patients with distant mMCC that had progressed following prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Read More

    Merkel cell carcinoma in France: A registries-based, comprehensive epidemiological survey.
    J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2018 Jan 16. Epub 2018 Jan 16.
    Department of Dermatology, Montpellier University CHU Saint-Eloi, Montpellier, France.
    Background: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare primary cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma. Owing to its low incidence, epidemiological data are scarce and have never been analysed in France to identify the main epidemiological trends.

    Methods: Data from MCC patients diagnosed between 1998 and 2010 were obtained from 11 French cancer registries in the FRANCIM network. Read More

    Brachytherapy in soft tissue tumours: an interdisciplinary challenge!
    Hell J Nucl Med 2017 Sep-Dec;20 Suppl:163
    Clinic of Plastic, Hand Surgery and Burn Care Unit, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Lübeck, Germany.
    Objective: Interdisciplinary work including surgery and additive radiotherapy is often needed for the therapy of tumours. Beneath this, brachytherapy is an important part of the radiotherapy. It was first used over 100 years ago and is in regular use after the development of afterload technology in the early 1970s. Read More

    Are there multiple cells of origin of Merkel cell carcinoma?
    Oncogene 2018 Jan 11. Epub 2018 Jan 11.
    Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare but lethal cancer with the highest case-by-case fatality rate among all skin cancers. Eighty percent of cancers are associated with the Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV). Twenty percent of MCCs are virus negative. Read More

    Adjuvant radiation therapy improves patient survival in early-stage merkel cell carcinoma: A 15-year single-institution study.
    Laryngoscope 2018 Jan 4. Epub 2018 Jan 4.
    Department of Head and Neck Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
    Objectives/hypothesis: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive neuroendocrine neoplasm of the skin. Growing evidence supports the benefit of postoperative adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) for locoregional control, but whether it improves overall survival (OS) has been debated. Our objective was to compare the OS of MCC patients who received postoperative RT with those who received surgery alone. Read More

    Endolymphatic Balloon-Occluded Retrograde Abdominal Lymphangiography (BORAL) and Embolization (BORALE) For the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chylous Ascites: Technique and Experience in Three Patients.
    Ann Vasc Surg 2017 Dec 4. Epub 2017 Dec 4.
    Department of Radiology, Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, University of Michigan Health System, Michigan Medicine, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
    Purpose: To describe endolymphatic balloon-occluded retrograde abdominal lymphangiography (BORAL) and embolization (BORALE) for diagnosis and treatment of chylous ascites in patients with previously unidentifiable leakage site or failed lymphatic embolization.

    Materials And Methods: Two (66%) men and one (33%) woman with mean age of 52 years (range: range: 14-79 years) presented with chylous ascites and underwent BORAL or BORALE between March 2016 and February 2017. Patients presented with renal cell carcinoma status post left nephrectomy and lymph node dissection (n=1), metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma status post left nephrectomy and adrenalectomy (n=1), and heart transplantation after failed Fontan procedure (n=1). Read More

    Cytokine release syndrome after radiation therapy: case report and review of the literature.
    J Immunother Cancer 2018 Jan 3;6(1). Epub 2018 Jan 3.
    Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA.
    Background: Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) has been reported after immunologic manipulations, most often through therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. To our knowledge, CRS after radiation therapy (RT) for cancer has not been reported before. The development of unusual clinical signs and symptoms after RT led us to investigate the possibility of CRS after RT and review the medical literature on this topic. Read More

    PD-L1 inhibitors in the pipeline: Promise and progress.
    Oncoimmunology 2017 21;7(1):e1365209. Epub 2017 Sep 21.
    Melanoma, Cancer Immunotherapy and Innovative Therapies Unit - Istituto Nazionale Tumori Fondazione "G. Pascale," Napoli, Italy.
    Checkpoint inhibitors have improved survival for patients with melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), bladder, head and neck and other cancers. Antibodies against PD-L1, including atezolizumab, avelumab and durvalumab, are also being developed and have been approved for various cancers. Compared with anti-CTLA-4 drugs, studies with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 agents have suggested higher response rates and improved survival. Read More

    Merkel cell carcinomas infiltrated with CD33+ myeloid cells and CD8+ T cells are associated with improved outcome.
    J Am Acad Dermatol 2017 Dec 19. Epub 2017 Dec 19.
    Université Francois Rabelais, "Biologie des infections à polyomavirus" team, UMR INRA ISP 1282, 31 avenue Monge, 37200 Tours, France; Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, University Hospital Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Straße 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. Electronic address:
    Background: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare tumor of the skin with an aggressive behavior. Immunity is the main regulator of MCC development, and many interactions between lymphocytes and tumor cells have been proven. However, the impact of tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells (TIMs) needs better characterization. Read More

    Psychometric properties of the FACT-M questionnaire in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma.
    Health Qual Life Outcomes 2017 Dec 22;15(1):247. Epub 2017 Dec 22.
    Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
    Background: No validated disease-specific questionnaires exist to capture health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - Melanoma (FACT-M) is validated in patients with melanoma, which shares many similarities with MCC. This paper reports the psychometric properties of the FACT-M in the metastatic MCC population. Read More

    Merkel cell carcinoma patients presenting without a primary lesion have elevated markers of immunity, higher tumor mutation burden and improved survival.
    Clin Cancer Res 2017 Dec 15. Epub 2017 Dec 15.
    Department of Medicine, Department of Dematology, University of Washington
    Purpose: Patients presenting with nodal Merkel cell carcinoma without an identifiable (unknown) primary lesion (MCC-UP) are nearly twice as likely to survive compared to similarly staged patients with known primary lesions (MCC-KP). The basis of this previously reported finding is unclear.

    Experimental Design: Survival analyses and markers of immunity were evaluated in 123 patients with advanced MCC. Read More

    Merkel Cell Carcinoma: an Update and Review Part 1. Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Staging.
    J Am Acad Dermatol 2017 Dec 9. Epub 2017 Dec 9.
    Department of Dermatology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an uncommon primary cutaneous neuroendocrine cancer. It most commonly presents as an indurated plaque or nodule on sun-damaged skin in elderly patients and is characterized by high rates of local recurrence and nodal metastasis. Survival at five years is 51% for local disease and as low as 14% for distant disease, which underscores the aggressive nature of this tumor and challenges in management. Read More

    Merkel Cell Carcinoma: An Update and Review. Part II: Current and Future Therapy.
    J Am Acad Dermatol 2017 Dec 9. Epub 2017 Dec 9.
    Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare neuroendocrine tumor of the skin associated with a high risk of local recurrence and distant metastases. It most commonly occurs on sun-exposed areas of Caucasian patients over the age of 65.1,2 The Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV) is thought to be responsible for malignant transformation in approximately 80% of cases in the northern hemisphere,3 while ultraviolet radiation induced DNA damage is implicated in MCV-negative tumors. Read More

    Anti-PD-L1 Treatment Induced Central Diabetes Insipidus.
    J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2017 Dec 6. Epub 2017 Dec 6.
    Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, NIH, USA.
    Context: Immune checkpoint inhibitors, including anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1 and anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibodies, have been widely used in cancer treatment. They are known to cause immune-related adverse events (irAEs), which resemble autoimmune diseases. Anterior pituitary hypophysitis with secondary hypopituitarism is a frequently reported irAE, especially in patients receiving anti-CTLA4 treatment. Read More

    Nonprogression with avelumab treatment associated with gains in quality of life in metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma.
    Future Oncol 2017 Dec 8. Epub 2017 Dec 8.
    Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
    Aim: To assess the association between tumor response and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma treated with the anti-PD-L1 avelumab.

    Materials & Methods: Phase II single-arm trial (NCT02155647) data of 88 patients were analyzed. Correlations between percentage reduction in tumor size and change from baseline in Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - General (FACT-G), FACT - Melanoma (FACT-M) and EuroQol-5 Dimension scores were calculated. Read More

    Peptide blocking of PD-1/PD-L1 interaction for cancer immunotherapy.
    Cancer Immunol Res 2017 Dec 7. Epub 2017 Dec 7.
    CAS Key Laboratory of Nano-Bio Interface, Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
    Immunotherapy has become a promising alternative therapeutic approach for cancer patients. Interruption of immune checkpoints, such as CTLA-4 and PD-1, has been verified to be a successful means for cancer therapy in clinical trials. Monoclonal antibody (mAb) targeting to PD-L1 has been approved to treat urothelial carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer or merkel cell carcinoma by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Read More

    Endolymphatic Balloon-Occluded Retrograde Abdominal Lymphangiography (BORAL) and Embolization (BORALE) for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chylous Ascites: Approach, Technical Success, and Clinical Outcomes.
    Ann Vasc Surg 2017 Dec 5. Epub 2017 Dec 5.
    Department of Radiology, Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, University of Michigan Health System, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI.
    Background: To describe endolymphatic balloon-occluded retrograde abdominal lymphangiography (BORAL) and embolization (BORALE) for diagnosis and treatment of chylous ascites in patients with previously unidentifiable leakage site or failed lymphatic embolization.

    Methods: Two (66%) men and 1 (33%) woman with mean age of 52 years (range: 14-79 years) presented with chylous ascites and underwent BORAL or BORALE between March 2016 and February 2017. Patients presented with chylous ascites (n = 3) and with renal cell carcinoma after left nephrectomy and lymph node dissection (n = 1), metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma after left nephrectomy and adrenalectomy (n = 1), and heart transplantation after failed Fontan procedure (n = 1). Read More

    Head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma: a retrospective case series and critical literature review with emphasis on treatment and prognosis.
    Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol 2018 Feb 2;125(2):126-139. Epub 2017 Dec 2.
    Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dentistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
    Objective: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare cutaneous malignancy with a high recurrence and mortality rates. More than half of MCCs occur in the head and neck region. This paper aims to present a retrospective case series study of primary MCCs of the head and neck treated in our department over 12 years. Read More

    Epidemiology, biology and therapy of Merkel cell carcinoma: conclusions from the EU project IMMOMEC.
    Cancer Immunol Immunother 2017 Nov 30. Epub 2017 Nov 30.
    Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Germany.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a highly aggressive, often lethal neuroendocrine cancer. Its carcinogenesis may be either caused by the clonal integration of the Merkel cell polyomavirus into the host genome or by UV-induced mutations. Notably, virally-encoded oncoproteins and UV-induced mutations affect comparable signaling pathways such as RB restriction of cell cycle progression or p53 inactivation. Read More

    Merkel cell carcinoma in an immunosuppressed patient.
    An Bras Dermatol 2017 May-Jun;92(3):386-388
    Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Instituto Nacional de Câncer (INCA) - Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Brazil.
    Merkel cell carcinoma is an uncommon neuroendocrine carcinoma with a rising incidence and an aggressive behavior. It predominantly occurs in older patients, with onset occurring at a mean age of 75-80 years. Recognized risk factors are ultraviolet sunlight exposure, immunosuppression, and, more recently, Merkel cell polyomavirus. Read More

    Differentiating Merkel cell carcinoma of lymph nodes without a detectable primary skin tumor from other metastatic neuroendocrine carcinomas: the ELECTHIP criteria.
    J Am Acad Dermatol 2017 Nov 24. Epub 2017 Nov 24.
    Department of Pathology, Université Francois Rabelais, CHU de Tours, avenue de la République, 37170, Chambray-les-tours, France.
    Background: Merkel cell carcinoma MCC) can present as a cutaneous tumor or a lymph node without primary tumor MCCWP). MCCWP can be misinterpreted on histologic examination as lymph node metastasis LNM) from other neuroendocrine carcinomas LNMNECs). However, this distinction is crucial for therapeutic management. Read More

    Dermatological Complications After Solid Organ Transplantation.
    Clin Rev Allergy Immunol 2017 Nov 25. Epub 2017 Nov 25.
    Division of Gastroenterology and Center for Autoimmune Liver Diseases, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
    Organ transplant recipients (OTRs) are a population at high risk for cutaneous adverse events. Their early recognition and appropriate treatment is an important component of the clinical management of OTRs and should be optimally dealt with by dermatologists working in the context of a transplant dermatology clinic. Skin examination should be a standard procedure before performing organ transplantation to assess conditions which may be difficult to manage after the transplant procedure has been performed or which may represent a contraindication to transplantation, e. Read More

    Primary lesions that may imitate metastatic tumors histologically: A selective review.
    Semin Diagn Pathol 2017 Nov 17. Epub 2017 Nov 17.
    Division of Surgical Pathology & Cytopathology, University of Virginia Medical Center, Room 3020, 1215 Lee St., Charlottesville, VA 22908-0214, USA. Electronic address:
    Several primary pathologic entities in diverse anatomic locations have the potential to simulate metastatic neoplasms histologically. Their misinterpretation as such may result in needless and extensive clinical evaluations that are intended to detect a presumed malignancy at another site. More importantly, mistakes of this type can deprive patients of surgical excisions that could be curative. Read More

    PD-L1 blockade with avelumab: A new paradigm for treating Merkel cell carcinoma.
    Cancer Biol Ther 2017 Dec 27;18(12):937-939. Epub 2017 Nov 27.
    a Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research , National Cancer Institute, NIH , Bethesda , MD , USA.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive neuroendocrine skin cancer. Until recently, no durable treatment options were available for patients with advanced disease. As an immunogenic cancer, MCC was hypothesized to be a candidate for PD-L1/PD-1 targeted therapy. Read More

    Merkel cell polyomavirus infection of animal dermal fibroblasts.
    J Virol 2017 Nov 22. Epub 2017 Nov 22.
    Department of Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6076
    Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is the first polyomavirus to be associated with human cancer. Mechanistic studies attempting to fully elucidate MCPyV oncogenic mechanisms have been hampered by the lack of animal models for MCPyV infection. In this study, we examined the infectability of MCPyV-GFP pseudovirus, MCPyV recombinant virion, and several MCPyV chimeric viruses in dermal fibroblasts isolated from various model animals, including mouse (Mus musculus), rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), rat (Rattus norvegicus), chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas), common woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha), red-chested mustached tamarin (Saguinus labiatus), and tree shrew (Tupaia Belangeri). Read More

    Merkel Cell Carcinoma Metastatic to Pleural Fluid: A Case Report.
    J Pathol Transl Med 2017 Nov 23. Epub 2017 Nov 23.
    Department of Pathology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Severance Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare aggressive neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin that shows locoregional and distant metastasis. Metastasis of MCC to body cavity effusion is extremely rare; only three cases had been reported so far. Metastatic MCC in effusion cytology shows small blue round cells with fine stippled chromatin like other small blue round cell tumors such as small cell lung carcinoma or lymphoma. Read More

    Surgical resection improves median overall survival with marginal improvement in long-term survival when compared with definitive radiotherapy in Merkel cell carcinoma: A propensity score matched analysis of the National Cancer Database.
    Am J Surg 2017 Nov 11. Epub 2017 Nov 11.
    Division of Surgical Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
    Background: Definitive radiotherapy has been suggested as a treatment alternative to surgical resection in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

    Methods: Patients with MCC were identified from the National Cancer Database. Propensity score matching accounting for age, Charlson-Deyo score, grade, and AJCC stage was used to match patients in 1:1 fashion by primary treatment (surgery vs. Read More

    Insulinoma-associated 1: A novel nuclear marker in Merkel cell carcinoma (cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma).
    J Cutan Pathol 2018 Feb 17;45(2):129-135. Epub 2017 Dec 17.
    Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, clinically aggressive, cutaneous neuroendocrine (NE) neoplasm. As a tumor with small, round, blue cells, the histologic differential diagnosis for MCC can include melanoma, metastatic small cell carcinoma (SCC), nodular hematopoietic tumors, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), atypical variants of squamous carcinoma and the uncommon occurrence of primary cutaneous Ewing sarcoma. In cases with atypical histology or without the classic immunophenotype, the diagnosis can be challenging. Read More

    A rare case of Merkel cell carcinoma presenting as a giant intra-thoracic mass: A case report and review of the literature.
    Medicine (Baltimore) 2017 Nov;96(46):e8743
    aDepartment of General Surgery, Xuzhou Infectious Disease Hospital bDepartment of Thoracic Surgery cDepartment of Respiratory Medicine, Xuzhou Central Hospital Affiliated to Southeast University, Xuzhou, China.
    Rationale: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine-derived cutaneous cancer. Ectopic or single metastatic MCC located in thorax is extremely rare; meanwhile, its definite management has not been elucidated yet.

    Patient Concerns: A 64-year-old female patient with a giant mass located in her left thorax was presented for stuffy pain of left chest for 6 months and fever for half a month. Read More

    Interaction between Merkel cell carcinoma and the immune system: Pathogenetic and therapeutic implications.
    Mol Clin Oncol 2017 Nov 1;7(5):729-732. Epub 2017 Sep 1.
    Unit of Dermatology, University of Padua, I-35128 Padua, Italy.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive primary cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma. It usually appears on the face and neck of elderly Caucasian people as a flesh-colored, erythematous or violaceous dome-shaped, non-tender nodule with a smooth surface. In immunocompromised patients with T-cell dysfunction, such as patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or solid organ transplant recipients, the incidence of this disease is markedly increased. Read More

    Immune evasion mechanisms and immune checkpoint inhibition in advanced merkel cell carcinoma.
    Oncoimmunology 2017 31;6(10):e1338237. Epub 2017 Aug 31.
    Department of Surgery and Medicine, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
    Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare skin cancer caused by Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) infection and/or ultraviolet radiation-induced somatic mutations. The presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes is evidence that an active immune response to MCPyV and tumor-associated neoantigens occurs in some patients. However, inhibitory immune molecules, including programmed death-1 (PD-1) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), within the MCC tumor microenvironment aid in tumor evasion of T-cell-mediated clearance. Read More

    Evaluation of real-world treatment outcomes in patients with distant metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma following second-line chemotherapy in Europe.
    Oncotarget 2017 Oct 13;8(45):79731-79741. Epub 2017 Jul 13.
    Merck KGaA, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany.
    Background And Aims: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive skin cancer; few treatments exist for patients with advanced disease. Once tumors metastasize to distant sites, patients generally receive chemotherapy, but response duration and progression-free survival (PFS) are typically short. Few studies have assessed the efficacy of second-line chemotherapy for metastatic MCC. Read More

    Anti-PD-L1/TGFβR2 (M7824) fusion protein induces immunogenic modulation of human urothelial carcinoma cell lines, rendering them more susceptible to immune-mediated recognition and lysis.
    Urol Oncol 2017 Nov 2. Epub 2017 Nov 2.
    Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. Electronic address:
    Background: Avelumab has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the therapy of Merkel cell carcinoma and urothelial carcinoma. M7824 is a novel first-in-class bifunctional fusion protein comprising a monoclonal antibody against programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1, avelumab), fused to the extracellular domain of human transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) receptor 2, which functions as a TGFβ "trap." Advanced urothelial tumors have been shown to express TGFβ, which possesses immunosuppressive properties that promote cancer progression and metastasis. Read More

    A pilot study of Merkel cell polyomavirus in squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue.
    Oral Oncol 2017 Nov 4;74:111-114. Epub 2017 Oct 4.
    Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA, USA; Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA, USA; Department of Surgery, Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Hospital, Shreveport, LA, USA. Electronic address:

    Merkel cell carcinoma: Current US incidence and projected increases based on changing demographics.
    J Am Acad Dermatol 2017 Nov 2. Epub 2017 Nov 2.
    Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington; Divisions of Medical Oncology and Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Electronic address:
    Background: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) incidence rates are rising and strongly age-associated, relevant for an aging population.

    Objective: Determine MCC incidence in the United States and project incident cases through the year 2025.

    Methods: Registry data were obtained from the SEER-18 Database, containing 6600 MCC cases. Read More

    Merkel Cell Polyomavirus Small T Antigen Drives Cell Motility via Rho-GTPase-Induced Filopodium Formation.
    J Virol 2018 Jan 2;92(2). Epub 2018 Jan 2.
    School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
    Cell motility and migration is a complex, multistep, and multicomponent process intrinsic to progression and metastasis. Motility is dependent on the activities of integrin receptors and Rho family GTPases, resulting in the remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton and formation of various motile actin-based protrusions. Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive skin cancer with a high likelihood of recurrence and metastasis. Read More

    Analyses of functions of an anti-PD-L1/TGFβR2 bispecific fusion protein (M7824).
    Oncotarget 2017 Sep 8;8(43):75217-75231. Epub 2017 Sep 8.
    Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
    M7824 (MSB0011359C) is a novel first-in-class bifunctional fusion protein consisting of a fully human IgG1 anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (with structural similarities to avelumab) linked to the extracellular domain of two TGFβ receptor 2 (TGFβR2) molecules serving as a TGFβ Trap. Avelumab has demonstrated clinical activity in a range of human cancers and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the therapy of Merkel cell and bladder carcinomas. Preclinical studies have shown this anti-PD-L1 is capable of mediating antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Read More

    Dermoscopic assessment of vascular structures in solitary small pink lesions-differentiating between good and evil.
    Dermatol Pract Concept 2017 Jul 31;7(3):47-50. Epub 2017 Jul 31.
    Dermatology Service, Department of Medicine Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA.
    The diagnosis of a single small pink papule poses a real challenge to the clinician, as the differential diagnosis of such lesions includes benign entities such as a neurofibroma or hemangioma, as well as aggressive and potentially fatal skin malignancies such as amelanotic melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). The absence of a benign vascular pattern and the presence of atypical vascular features under dermoscopy direct the clinician to proceed to histologic evaluation in order to rule out a malignant process in such lesions. The diagnosis of MCC is particularly problematic, given that this tumor usually lacks specific clinical diagnostic features. Read More

    Genetic profiles of different subsets of Merkel cell carcinoma show links between combined and pure MCPyV-negative tumors.
    Hum Pathol 2018 Jan 24;71:117-125. Epub 2017 Oct 24.
    Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (DPLM), Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Nova Scotia Health Authority (Central Zone), Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 1V8; Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 1V8; Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 1V8.
    Tumorigenesis in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is driven by (1) clonal integration of the Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) in neoplastic cells and/or (2) genetic damage by ultraviolet (UV) light. A higher mutational burden, a UV-mutational signature, and many mutations in the TP53 and RB1 genes characterize the virus-negative subset. MCPyV-negative MCCs include combined (often squamous and neuroendocrine) and pure (neuroendocrine) tumors. Read More

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